The average American Listens to more than 16 hours of online audio content per week – such as podcasts. Which is 17 percent more than last year.
But not everyone finds it easy to listen.
Most people with hearing loss Is Able to access podcasts: Although 1 in 6 adults in the UK have some hearing loss, only 12 per cent of those adults are severely or severely deaf. So depending on the audio quality, the listening environment, and access to hearing aids or noise-canceling headphones, it is certainly possible for most people with hearing loss to enjoy the podcast.
However, listening to podcasts can also be a challenge for people with hearing impairments. Audio producer JN Benjamin, who has a hearing impairment disorder, described that he has no control over what his brain processes, which causes him to “hear too much.”
“In short,” he says, “I have no control over what my brain wants to process, and there are all sorts of things that trigger it and create stress.” And so when it comes to podcasts, sound design is especially important for Benjamin and other people with hearing impairments, because they hear a lot of sounds that other people may not take.
Hearing processing disorders, on the surface, can be like the opposite of hearing – with one, the listener receives sounds that others may not, and with another the listener may hear less than other people.
But when it comes to podcasts, the challenges are much the same.
Fortunately, there are some things that podcasters and other audio content creators can make more accessible to their listeners with hearing impairments or hearing impairments, and more fortunately, those combinations will make the experience better for many listeners.
Authentic and clear speech, always
Professional-grade recording tools and editing software may not be available to everyone, but you can set up with the basic tools of the trade for a few hundred dollars.
Recording equipment is not the only indicator of sound quality.
Karen Shepherd, professional quality director at Boots Hearingcare and former president of the British Academy of Audiology (BAA), emphasized the importance of producing good quality sound with very little competitive sound. When you have multiple presenters, for example, it is important that they do not talk to each other.
In addition to technically clear recordings, speech transparency can also be important. Lauren Ward, who conducts research on media accessibility at York University, said the accents we are familiar with are easy to understand.
It doesn’t rule out podcasting for people with strong regional accents, but speaking a little slower and pronouncing can be especially helpful for listeners who have hearing impairments.
Focus on post-production
Producers can do a lot in post-production to make audio sound more clear.
Independent podcast and BBC radio producer Callum Ronan advises producers to take steps in recording and editing:
- Balance audio for left and right channels of headphones / speakers
- Remove bleeding from the microphone to avoid echoes or delays
- Mix content to balance sound levels across multiple hosts
- Work with a LUFS -16 to -18 loudness standard to prepare the file for publication
View your backing track and surround sound
For most people, auditory visual analysis, or the ability to extract a sound in a noisy environment, is second nature.
Ward suggests that you were at a party for the last time, with multiple conversations, less background music, and glasses. Most people with regular hearing are able to “zoom in” on their conversations and they block other words.